Happy Blue Friday 12ers.
Has your hangover from last Sunday worn off yet? There was that little thing called Christmas to help shake the blues, right? This week are two things: Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams, and the last Hawk Tawk of the regular season, for after today it is playoff time. Here is what I will touch on today:
1. The offense looked anemic, in ways you might or might not have thought about.
2. The defense looked great, but in the end, it was the defense that allowed the game winning score….what side of the coin are you on?
3. On Sunday, the Seahawks control the outcome. They are the better team, which means nothing. They win and they get the first round bye and home field advantage. They lose and they still play in playoffs, but where?
4. A few things Seattle must do defensively and offensively to win the game.
5. Would the win be more important for the Seahawks confidence, or for the 12thman?
All-righty then, let’s Tawk some Hawk. Last week was one of the ugliest games of the year for Seattle. The offense started off looking good, until they hit the red zone. It seemed that everything that could go wrong was going wrong. Murphy was playing havoc with Russell Wilson and company. Wilson’s passes floated high, over and over again. Tater was dropping catches that he usually makes in his sleep. Field goal attempts were making way too much noise. Marshawn looked like he had it going, then it looked like either he didn’t or the offensive game plan changed. I never got off the couch after the game. I was so utterly confused as to what had happened that I just finished my last beer and passed out right then and there. It was devastating to have watched Seattle collapse at home, and lose to a team that should not have beat them. I still have no answers. I actually do, but they are just my opinion and in no way reflect the truth, so I will spare you my ramblings, for now. This week must be vastly different.
All of us ooohed and awwwwed every time one of the Legion of Boom intercepted a pass from Palmer. The LoB constantly put the offense in position to put the game away. Alas, there would be no door slamming on that day. Did anyone notice what was happening in between the interceptions? The Cardinals were racking up big plays one after the other, and putting points on the board. I would gladly sacrifice two or three interceptions for some red zone defense. I know that they only gave up blah blah blah, what I am saying is, when the offense struggles, the defense must keep the other team from scoring. They did not do that. I am not saying it was the defense’s fault, it was clearly an offensively inept game. What I am suggesting is, if the defense had stopped Arizona from scoring that last touchdown, guess who may have won? Just my shake on it, take it or leave it.
This Sunday, The Hawks can greatly improve their own playoff situation with a win. A win means they have an extra week to get healthy. A win means they have an extra week to game plan. A win means they will play in front of their beloved 12s. A win means they actually clinch the NFC West. Remember the last time they won the NFC West? Who were they playing? That’s right, except that this time it is a legit conference, with legit implications on the line. Picture this:
Seattle can clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage with:
1) SEA win or tie OR
2) SF loss or tie
San Francisco dreams that they could clinch the NFC West and a first-round bye with:
1) SF win + SEA loss
or the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs with:
1) SF win + SEA loss + CAR loss or tie
So I say to the 12thman, let us rise up and do our part to make sure that Seattle regains rightful control over their division and denies Harbaby and his “can’t put a bill-board in the right place” 40-whiner fans a reason to cheer.
To accomplish this week’s goals, there are a number of things the Seahawks will have to do better than they have been. They will have to protect Russell Wilson. That may be executed a bit differently than one may imagine. The offensive line is what it is. Robert Quinn is a talented pass rusher, and leads the league with 18 sacks. Bevell is going to have to stop boring the crap out of defenses and get creative here. They must allow Russell to move out of the pocket, use play action selectively, take shots down field, and use his legs to keep the defense honest. Okay, check, they have been trying to do that. The difference this week, is that Russell must be accurate, and the receivers have to catch the ones that may be a little off. Catching the “non-perfect” balls is where they failed last week. Think about it, Seattle was one or two big catches away from a completely different game. The running game will be the difference make in this game. Defensively and offensively. The Seahawks must, must, must get Lynch and company in a groove early, and maintain the pressure. If Lynch can eat up the yards and the clock on the ground, Russell will find open receivers down-field on play action. If Lynch can grind out those short third down yards, a bevy of receivers will find that they have slipped through zone coverage into no-mans land. If Lynch can beat up the Rams offensive line and linebackers, the pass rush will not be as effective. Ha! That was my Jon Madden impression right there, you like? But, Seattle must also slow down Zac Stacy, the Rams running phenom. I am not too worried about Seattle’s ability to cover the Rams receivers, after all Tavon Austin is out, and Jake Long, the starting left tackle is out. They must stop the Rams rushing attack, and put massive pressure on Clemmons. This will be all about allowing the Rams to complete more passes to the LoB than to his own receivers, but they have to stop the run first.
What about you? Do you think it is more important for Seattle to win for themselves or the fans? The obvious implications of the win are stated above. They are in the playoffs. Seattle has the biggest home-field advantage in the NFL. The 12thman truly does affect the game. Whether is be the offside or false start penalties or the attitude and emotion of the players hearing their crowd going nuts, it affects the game. I believe that Seattle must win for themselves, this is an identity game. For Seattle to have a healthy confidence going into the playoffs they must win for themselves. I will love my Hawks no matter the outcome, but will they love themselves? Personally I believe in the players that are going to be taking the field. I believe that the Seahawks are special, no longer on the verge, rather they are becoming an elite team. I believe that they will win this Sunday. I believe that the Super Bowl is going to be very special to all of us 12s this season. I believe.
Until the playoffs my fellow 12s, 12thman now, 12thman forever, Go Hawks!!